A group of nine sit around a table, eating their lunch and discussing things like character development and plot themes of the book in front of them. The librarian observes and interjects ideas to keep the conversation flowing.
This is the setting one day out of the month at St. John Bosco Catholic School in Ahwatukee Foothills. The group of fourth- and fifth-graders decided instead of playing basketball or hanging out with their friends during lunch, they were going to join a book club, which was started by librarian Theresa Harvey.
"This is an extraordinary group of kids," Harvey said. "They could be doing any number of things but they decided to come here and talk about books."
The book for the month of October was Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff. The students talked about connections in the book and Harvey asked questions that inspired them to think. She had been a teacher for many years before becoming the librarian at St. John Bosco and her methods for conversation reflected this.
"I've taught just about every grade level," she said. "Reading and understanding what you are reading is one of the most important things a student can do."
Assistant Principal Mary Reese echoed these statements.
"It is wonderful, the things she does to encourage reading," Reese said. "It just creates a greater love of reading. She is willing to go above and beyond to help a student pick out a book or to help someone really understand what they have read."
Harvey taught in California before coming to Phoenix. She started at St. John Bosco as a fourth-grade teacher when the school opened 10 years ago.
"I have loved being here," she said. "This (book club) group has been particularly amazing in their discussions."
As for the club, Harvey leaves most of almost everything up to the students including the vote on which book they will read next.
"I just believe Mrs. Harvey is always there for the students," Reese said.